The inventory of Saskatoon homes for sale continued on an upward path through March. Active listings of detached houses grew by just over 100 units on a month-over-month basis and settled at 867 by month’s end. That’s a fair bit higher compared to March of 2008when just 470 houses were available for sale on the local MLS system. On the positive side, the number is up by less than 100% over the previous year for the first time in many months. Unit sales of single-family homes came in at 193 properties, down about seventeen percent from 233 sales in March of 2008 but still reached their highest level since July of last year when 228 houses were sold.
Available Saskatoon condominiums also came in higher on a month-over-month basis climbing from 412 units at the end of Februaryto finish at 461 properties a month later. Sales picked up over the previous month to 66 units, just half the number that traded in March of last year.
Based on current sales and inventory, condo sellers are faced with a seven-month supply of inventory while single-family home owners have just four and one half months of supply to contend with. There are some bright spots on the inventory front though. Overall, we have about a five-month supply of residential real estate in Saskatoon, which is the lowest it has been since July of 2008. From August through December, the supply hovered between seven and eight months.
The average selling price of a detached house fell from a lofty $305,130 last month, and finished March at $286,634, about 12.5% lower than the average sale price of $326,633 from March of last year. The median price had a shorter fall on a month-over-month basis, down just $5,000 to $275,000, but about fourteen percent lower than last March’s number of $320,000. The three-month average managed a small gain over February and finished at $293,973, down just over six percent compared to the same month last year.
The average price per square foot for single-homes also edged down in March, falling to $238 from $252 the month before, and finishing about fifteen percent off of the near peak number of $279 that we saw last March. Areas four and five both managed a small month-over-month gain but all five Saskatoon real estate areas took a bath compared to last year with area three falling most sharply at twenty-one percent and area 2 fairing most favorably, down just twelve percent from last March.
At first glance condos seem to have performed somewhat better then single-family homes on a year over year basis, at least as far as averages and medians are concerned. The average selling price of a Saskatoon condo declined just over $10,000 from February and was down just $4,700 from the same month last year when it reached $219,975. The median price of a condo fell $13,000 from $212,500 in February to $199,450 in March, down just five percent from March of 2008. The three-month average fell nearly $8,000 from the month before but actually finished higher on a year-over-year basis at $220,182, up from $215,822 last year.
When you’re talking about just 66 sales, across all five real estate areas, some crazy stuff can start to happen, so let’s dig a little to see what’s really happening here.
First of all, the average size of condo that traded in March 2009 was 1,007 square feet compared to 908 square feet for condos selling during the same month last year. Some of strength in condo prices can be attributed to that. Larger units should fetch a higher price. Secondly, there is a real shift in the location of the units that are selling this year. Last year, 22 of 130 condo sales, or seventeen percent of sales, occurred on Saskatoon’s more affordable west end. This year, we see 2 of 66 units, or about three percent of condo sales occurring on the west end. If we compare apples to apples (at least as closely as we can) here’s what we find. The average price of an area 1 condo was $241,447 last March and fell to $207,293 this year. Area 2 came in at $288,721 during March of 2008 and fell to $229,733 this year. Area 3 took some huge year-over-year gains climbing to $240,488 from just $186,859 last year but the average size of the units traded also grew from 698 square feet to 1,057 square feet. Area 4 hasn’t seen a condo sale for darned near a year, and finally, area 5 fell from $189,670 last March to just $169,000 this March.
Once again, average price per square foot numbers probably paint a slightly more accurate picture of Saskatoon condo prices. After seeing a healthy upward bump in January, the average cost per square foot for a condo slid to $214 from $223 the month before, and down about twelve percent from March of 2008 when it hit $242. On a year-over-year basis the average cost per square foot fell fifteen percent in area 1, thirteen percent in area 2, sixteen percent in area 3, and just four percent in area 5.
Remember, averages and cost per square foot numbers can provide some useful insights into pricing trends but they’re not as useful when engaging in an actual transaction. If you’re buying or selling you should be seeking current information on active listings and recent sales, which are most comparable to your property in terms of location, size, features and amenities.
I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions. All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.
Follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.
Royal LePage Vidorra